3 Secrets Radio Personalities Don't Want You to Know

The Public Speaker talks with popular radio personality, Jeff Brown, host of the Read to Lead podcast, to learn secrets successful broadcasters won’t tell you.  

Lisa B. Marshall,
October 10, 2013
Episode #223

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Secret #2: You're Never Talking to More than One Person

Jeff: Here's what I mean: If you've heard radio hosts or podcasters say things like "Hey all you listeners out there," or "Good morning everyone, we're excited to have all of you here," then you've heard one of my biggest pet peeves. 

It sounds counter-intuitive, but by narrowly tailoring your content, you actually broaden your potential audience.

Radio, and by extension, podcasting or any other form of audio content delivery, is a highly intimate medium. People listen in their car (often while alone), while out for a morning run, on the treadmill, or during a workout, or while performing chores around the house. And, more often than not, you're in their heads, almost literally, via earbuds or headphones. 

Anytime you begin to speak, you should do so as if your target demographic (whoever he or she is) is sitting right there next to you. Speak as if you're talking to that one person. You'll be amazed at the impact this simple subtlety can have on your listeners. They'll say things like, "I know we've never met, but I feel like I know you." Or, "Wow, I really felt like your show the other day was just for me."

I often hear this pet peeve come out when a host is attempting to differentiate who they're directing a statement to.

For example, while interviewing a guest on my podcast, I could say something like, "Welcome to the Read to Lead Podcast, Lisa. It's great to have you on. For those of you who don't know, Lisa is the host of the Public Speaker podcast." The phrase "For those of you" lets you know I'm transitioning from speaking to my guest to speaking to the listener. But just like in this example, hosts often do so in the plural sense. It sounds unnatural, and less intimate. 

It would be far better to state it like this: "Welcome to the Read to Lead Podcast, Lisa. It's great to have you on. In case you don't know, Lisa is the host of the Public Speaker podcast." 

This example illustrates a seamless and natural transition from engaging you, to engaging a single listener, not all of them as a group.  

Public Speaker: Jeff, I agree.  It's important for a host (or a public speaker) to imagine as if they are talking to one person. In the case of podcasting, I think it's very personal.  I always  assume I'm talking to just one person. In fact,  I like to keep a picture of my friend Linda on my desk to remind me that I should talk like I’m talking to a close friend.  Two great secrets so far, I hope you’re saving the best for last!

Secret #3: Be the Moon and Not the Sun

Jeff: Years ago my talent coach, Tommy Kramer, taught me that I am not the center of my listener's universe, no matter how popular my show becomes. 

The same goes for you. If you approach your audience under the assumption that you're the center of their universe, you are sorely mistaken. Your job is to serve them and this begins by having a complete grasp of what they care about and what their concerns are.  A self-centered host views what's happening around them as how it affects them personally and then proceeds to approach it on the air from that angle exclusively. It's only natural, right? 

But a selfless host immediately asks things like "How does this thing affect my listener?" Or, "Among all the angles I could take on this story, what's the one that's going to resonate with my listener most?" Do that and put your own unique spin on it, and you've got content gold.

The moon reflects the sun's light. Your job is to reflect back to your listener what's important to them. It's their universe and you are revolving around them, not the other way around.

Public Speaker:  I love that analogy, but I’m one of those practical people.  Can you give me a concrete example?

Jeff:  Sure. I might want to chat about yesterday’s football game, but if my target is that 28-year-old married female, doing so is probably putting my agenda first. That’s not to say the NFL doesn’t have female fans. Nothing could be further from truth. But it’s probably not the first thing on her mind come Monday morning as she’s trying to start the day.

Public Speaker: OK, got it.  Well, Jeff, thanks for sharing your 3 secrets and and also for agreeing to co-host this episode of The Public Speaker.  You can listen to Jeff on his show, the Read to Lead Podcast, where he interviews successful and inspiring nonfiction authors every week. You can find his show on iTunes, but you can also visit his website: ReadtoLeadPodcast.com.

This is Lisa B. Marshall, Helping you maximize sales, manage perceptions, and enhance leadership through keynotes, workshops, books, and online courses. Passionate about communication; your success is my business.

Do you struggle with difficult conversations?  Do you procrastinate when it comes to delivering feedback? Do you know how to effectively persuade and influence others?  Learn this and more in Smart Talk. Get your personally signed copy today!!

Radio broadcaster image courtesy of Shutterstock.


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